Cross-border provision for mentally ill patients living in north east Wales is being compromised by Welsh Government diktat to Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, claims an AM.
North Wales Assembly Member Mark Isherwood has taken the matter up with the Health Minister in Cardiff after being contacted by the parents of a mentally ill patient who was denied services in England, despite requiring urgent treatment.
A letter to the parents from Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board states that “The Welsh Government is clear that where possible Welsh residents should be offered services within Wales”.
Mr Isherwood is concerned that the arrangement is detrimental to Welsh patients’ health and welfare and has therefore sent a letter to the Health Minister asking what action he will be taking to ensure Welsh mentally ill patients living near the border are not refused treatment in England in the future.
He said: “Withholding immediate treatment for acute mental health conditions for Welsh patients who have been taken to an English hospital by the Emergency Ambulance Service is simply not acceptable and the Health Minister must review the current set up as a matter of urgency.”
Mr Isherwood, who last month called for cross border health services to be properly planned and protected after research evidence indicated that the Welsh Government has a hidden policy to repatriate North Wales patients treated in North West England, added: “Interdependence between North East Wales and North West England is a matter of incontestable fact and cross-border planning and delivery in health services is theref ore essential if we are to deliver patient-centred support and “seamless transition between in-patient and community services” in the only part of the UK with a connected urban area divided by a National Boundary.”
Mr Isherwood’s constituents have also expressed concern about follow-up treatment for mentally ill patients in Flintshire, which they say in comparison to services available in Wirral and Cheshire, are still notably lacking in access to psychological therapeutic interventions.